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Recorded as part of the Poem-a-Day series, September 1, 2015
About this Poem 

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of the self as it exists in the ether of one’s mind, and what happens to that interior identity when the physical form that contains it moves through the world, coming up against all the expectations a culture has of its various bodies, all the identities we construct for each other based on what we see. In what ways do we resist these expectations, or resign ourselves to them? How do we reconcile the self that lives within us with what is seen of us, or what isn’t seen?”
Camille Rankine


Camille Rankine

I twist myself into a knot
the day pulls taut.

I am what I am
told. Good red meat

gone necrotic. A spot of black
spread out to ruin

a perfect evening. It’s the way
the weather wears me.

A cold, blank day. My blood-
burned fingers. A white noise

swelling in me. It’s nothing
but night now. That’s how

all the days end. An hour
glistens in its glass case, turns

rancid in my memory.
Another day, another

dress the day lays out
before me. I grow older

if I’m lucky.
And I’m lucky.

My sad heart in its excess.
Such petty injury. I am worn

against the weather. Limp and prone
to empty.

What came before this.
I can’t remember.

I dress for all the lives I want
behind me. I have come here

to make seen the day
I see. I fall from focus.

The day goes sour. It asks me
nothing. It asks nothing of me.

Copyright © 2015 by Camille Rankine. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Camille Rankine. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

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